KATHMANDU, Oct 27: The fourth meeting of Nepal-India Joint Commission held in New Delhi has agreed on various activities including the expeditious completion of the phase I of Tarai roads.
The meeting that concluded on Thursday agreed on clearance of DPRs of the roads, Mahakali bridge and irrigation projects to be implemented through the concessional loan provided by the Government of India in 2014, availing of new concessional loan for the development of Tarai roads phase II and some other projects, early completion of the two ongoing cross border railway link projects namely Biratnagar-Jogbani and Bardibas-Bijalpura-Jaynagar and initiation of works for the three other agreed cross border rail link projects namely Nepalgunj-Nepalgunj Road, Kakarbhitta-New Jalpaiguri, and Bhairahawa-Nautanawa.
Similarly, Nepal and India were univocal on early completion of works of integrated check post at Birgunj and commencement of construction of integrated check post at Biratnagar, early start of the implementation of Hetauda Polytechnic, and the finalization of projects to utilize grant and loan components offered by the Government of India for reconstruction.
The meeting was co-chaired by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat from Nepali side, and Minister of State for External Affairs of India M. J. Akbar from Indian side, said a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The meeting made a comprehensive review on all aspects of Nepal-India relations under five broad clusters namely political, security and boundary; economic cooperation and infrastructure; trade and transit; power and water resources; culture and education.
Moreover, the Joint Commission decided to convene within a month the first meeting of the joint oversight mechanism of the officials of both governments in order to ensure the expeditious implementation of all ongoing bilateral cooperation projects.
On bilateral trade, Nepali side requested the Government of India to take concrete measures to enhance Nepal's export to India by, inter alia, addressing the concerns related to additional duties and charges, quantitative restrictions and rules of origin. Both sides agreed to expedite finalization of MoU between Nepal Bureau of Standard and Metrology and Bureau of Indian Standards.
On Nepal's request for additional air entry routes, the Joint Commission directed the concerned civil aviation authorities to deal with the matter in the next meeting by end of 2016. Nepal requested India to take supportive measures to promote tourism industry by including Nepal in its concessional leave scheme and by granting multiple entry visas to India-bound third country tourists to enable them to visit Nepal.
Similarly, on Nepal's request for the operationalization of the free market provision contained in the Power Trade Agreement signed in 2014, the Government of India conveyed that it would soon notify the new cross border regulation and guidelines on trade in power.
Both sides agreed to complete the examination of the draft DPR of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project to start further action.
On construction of the remaining irrigation facility on Nepal side as per the Gandak Agreement, it was agreed to take required action after the Government of Nepal provides the DPR. It was also agreed that a joint team of expert would inspect and submit a report to address the problems of siltation, design and operation of Gandak irrigation facility.
Nepali side stressed the need for early completion of the link canal and head regulator at Tanakpur barrage for the discharge of water to Nepal as per the provision of Mahakali Treaty. The Indian side conveyed that project report would be finalized soon.
On Nepal's proposal for the construction of three motorable bridges over Mahakali River at or around Sirsha, Jhulaghat and Darchula, the Government of India suggested Nepal to send proposals with more information for their consideration.
Nepal also requested for the synchronization of customs and connectivity at the ICD Dodhara-Chandani, and border points at Dodhara-Chandani-Khatima and Dhangadhi-Gauriphanta, to which, the Joint Commission directed to send a joint team to visit the sites and prepare report for this purpose.
In order to address the issue of inundation of border villages and towns in Nepal due to roads and infrastructure built in Indian territory, both sides agreed to undertake joint inspection of specific places, adds the release.
The 5th meeting of the Joint Commission will take place in Nepal at a mutually convenient date. The Joint Commission formed in 1987 is a bilateral mechanism at the Foreign Ministers' level with a mandate of reviewing the entire spectrum of Nepal-India bilateral relations. The last meeting of the Joint Commission was held in Kathmandu in 2014. RSS